Wednesday, February 29, 2012

He's a Big Boy Now!

Leap Year is a special time in our house...
Special because a certain brother was born just 12 minutes into February 29, 1992.
This year he turns 20.
And he celebrates with a "real" birthday.
Funny thing how his birthday only comes around every once in a while.

This boy comes up with the most ridiculous of ideas...
(like filling up his wetsuit with water then getting out of the pool
 and splashing it from all of his limbs!)

...always up for a smile where he can cheese away...

...and he's brought this really sweet girl around the house that I just adore...

...he looks handsome all dressed up...

...and can grow a killer Italian stallion 'stache... 

...can catch dinner for the family...
(maybe not so true... that fish is a bit too small!)

...he was once shorter than me, although I really can't say that anymore... 

...and his love for construction and concrete came at an early age...
(funny how we didn't fall far from the Papa tree!)

...he's a rockin' musician that sang the most special song at our wedding...

...and provided all kinds of jokes with his brother of the bride toast! 

Love you cubs and so proud of the 5-year-old man you've become! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Meatless Monday: Chile Relleno Quiche

Last week I challenged myself by straying away from cheesey proteins...
But this week, I am deep in the throes of cheesey goodness!
I've never met a Mexican dish I haven't loved.
And melty cheese always adds another layer of deliciousness.
Add some eggs and I'm won over!

Mr. Thomas isn't a huge fan of eggs
(stemming from his intense weight lifting period where egg whites made up his entire diet)
but this dish got a two thumbs up, with a side of double servings!

Chile Relleno Quiche

Ingredients
4 pasilla (or pablano) chiles
1 round of queso fresco
1 cup of grated Mexican cheese blend
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Directions
1. Heat broiler to high and pop chiles in.
2. When chiles skin is charred, remove from broiler and seal in a plastic bag.
3. Set oven to 425F.
4. Let steam for 10 minutes in plastic bag.
5. Remove chiles from bag and remove charred skins.
6. Slice chiles down center on one side.
7. Cut queso fresco into sections and stuff with queso fresco.
8. Place chiles in a greased casserole.
9. Whisk eggs, milk, and 1/2 cheese blend in a bowl. Pour over stuffed chiles.
10. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
12. Bake for 15 more minutes.
13. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes.


Serve with some salsa, sour cream, and cilantro to garnish.
You're going to love it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato... and Noodles!

Have I ever mentioned Jason's love affair with bacon?
The man loves himself some crispy bacon strips and bits. 
Eggs with bacon, bacon wrapped veggies, BLT sandwiches...
All delicious, but I realize I have to step my game up a bit to keep him on his toes.
This BLT pasta did just that!


Ingredients
1 pound bacon
1 carton of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 dash red pepper flakes
4 ounces spaghetti 
1 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
Dash and drizzle of olive oil

Directions
1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions
2. Mince garlic for later use in the noodles. 
3. Cook the bacon for the pasta in a large nonstick skillet over medium 
(or in the oven at 400f for 25 minutes) 
4. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon (or tongs) to a paper-towel-lined plate. 
5. Cook the tomatoes until they soften, about 5 minutes. 
6. Chop the bacon and add to pan. 
7. Add chicken broth and pepper flakes. 
8. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third. 
9. Add spinach.
10. Once spinach is wilted add pasta.
11. Toss to coat pasta with bacony goodness! 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finding Faith in Food Fads

As Jason and I settle into married life, 
I have started to examine the meals that I'm creating and cooking! 
Being just a small six months into married life, 
I realize I want my lifelong journey with Jason to be as long of a life as I can possibly make it! 

This has led me to look at all of the diets, fads in food, and eating plans out there. 
I want to make sure the stuff I'm putting on the table is healthy and delicious at the same time. 
But, I must admit, I love me some Thin Mints, 
some M&Ms, and a hefty bowl of chips and salsa. 
We are both (generally) good at working out, running, hitting the weights at the gym... 
And now it's time to conquer our food! 

While I'm studying all of the interesting food perspectives, 
I have remained diligent in studying God's word. 
I would hate to get so caught up in food, health, and nutrition that I don't remain focused on Him. 
And with the body image demon that rests so silent and stealthily on my shoulder diligence is key. 

One of my healthiest food loves is iced tea with no sweetener. 
Seriously, syrupy, sugary soda... Bleh. 
No thanks, just give me a chilled cup of steeped water and I'm a happy camper. 
(Well, one cup just isn't enough, if I'm honest.) 
Iced tea with a little side of M&Ms or a bowl of chips and salsa... 
And you've got me won over. 
If iced tea with chips and salsa could be considered a well-balanced meal 
you'd know what fills my pantry. 
However, too many M&Ms and too many chips with salsa make my tummy really upset. 
Although my self control is rusty (at best) I realize it doesn't take much 
to go from just enough to an upset tummy ache due to overconsumption.

In Phillipians 3:19, God warns against overindulgence:

"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. 
Their mind is on earthly things."

Iced tea is, luckily, a healthy choice
 and I don't have problems with an upset stomach due to over-ingestion. 
God is much like iced tea. 
He is good for you, He has elements critical to life (like tea has water), 
He's just being Him and not trying to be too sweet 
(in other words, He's all natural and has no need for sugar coating).

At the same time, God is not like M&Ms or chips and salsa. 
Too much doesn't make you sick. 
He is not tempting you only to make you pay for quenching your desires. 
He longs for you to come and enjoy all of the flavor that He has to offer. 
God extends an invitation to believers in 1 Corinthians 10:31 in saying 

"So whether you eat or drink whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 

Amen, let's enjoy! 
His goodness will come upon us and bless us through our indulgence in Him.

Enjoy the best of summer drinks (on this warm, sunny, not so wintry day!) and think of His greatness. He longs for us to drink of His greatness while spending time thinking on Him. i'm up for it.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Dog Gone It!

You may or may not be tired of seeing Hazel Gwynneth
and her sweet, sweet wrinkled self. 
But I can't keep myself from snapping pictures of her.
And I can't stop myself from being thankful for her happy, sweet demeanor.
So this Thursday, thanks is for all things pup! 


A sweet whine in the morning beckoning a bathroom break.
Running "home" and plopping on the doormat in wait.
That puppy smell.
Wrinkles.
All things puppy pink. 
Rawhide compressed bones.
Soft snores.
Naps throughout the day that make me thoroughly jealous.
An amazing Uncle Jeremiah to play with our girl.
A yard at work for Hazel to join me in.
Boxing matches with our boxer girl.
Mr. T's love to play with Hazel and show her his affections.

Oh my precious four legged friend, you will hold me over from a baby wish now! 

Peanut Butter Puppy Patties

February 23 is National Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.
And since we have a new fuzzy little addition in our family,
I decided what a perfect food day to celebrate!
(Even if it isn't a human food day)


And sweet little hearts only seemed appropriate since Hazel has stolen our hearts!

(Side note: I got bangs. So stoked on the little change)


This precious sleeping pup can melt even a heart of stone.
(Especially with her wondrous snores!)


Puffy Peanut Butter Puppy Patties


Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon baking soda


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the peanut butter and milk.
4. Add peanut butter mixture to flour.
5. Mix together.
6. Roll dough out on a floured surface.
7. Use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes!
8. Bake on a baking sheet (no need for grease!) for 15 minutes.

We have some puppy friends that Hazel is so thrilled to share her patties with!



And just one more picture of a sweet Hazel baby for the road.
Yep, she was trying to pull down the blanket hanging over her head
but how exhausting for a puppy dog!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Mr. T... Love, Me


Dear Mr. T,
Thanks for being the driver last week
(well, except through Nevada because I'm the bomb).
I could get used to riding around with you and seeing all the baby animals.

With all of the wedding wonders, I am reminded how thankful I am to have you.
Just you. And me. For all time.
What a blessing God has given me and not by any of my doing.
Thanks be to Him.

You are so much of the Ephesians husband.
Goodness, am I thankful.
Every day you shine the light of our God into my life
and you encourage me to make my little light brighter.
(Maybe part of thiss my competitive nature?)

Love,
me

P.S. Don't I look like a fishing queen in this picture?
Boy have I got everyone fooled.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meatless Monday: Wilted Winter Greens with Bean Salad

"A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate."
Proverbs 15:17

Isn't it funny how God's words apply to so many facets of life? 
The concept of Meatless Monday is captured so perfectly in that verse! 

As much as I was loving the challenge of Meatless Monday, 
I realized that I was depending on dairy (like cheese or milk) to provide protein.
So, this week it was important for it to try a dairy free Meatless Monday meal.
With my limitations in place this divine dish was born!


Wilted Winter Greens Topped with Bean Salad

Ingredients
1 can cannellini beans
1 can green beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

(lots of fun pretty colors right?)

Directions
1. Combine all beans, corn, tomatoes, and bell pepper together in a large bowl.
2. Combine spices in a bowl along with vinegar and olive oil.
3. Pour olive oil mixture over beans and begins and mix.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Let chill in refrigerator. 
6. Drizzle olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
7. Add garlic to skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
8. Add kale and chard (maybe only 1/2 at a time) and stir to coat in olive oil.
9. When the leaves are wilted (I like mine with a little fresh crunchiness to it) remove from heat.
10. Place winter greens on plate and top with bean salad. 

plus 
                                             
equals
Meatless Monday: Dairy Free Addition 

Mr. Thomas loved these. 
I did too.
But be warned... They weren't free of...
How can I put this?
"After Effects"
(that come in the form of stink that leaks from one person I knows booty)

Moral of the story: 
Beans, beans the magical fruit
Keep you feeling light and give energy to boot!
The more energy the better you feel,
soooooo 
EAT YOUR BEANS AT EVERY MEAL!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Little Addition

Have you missed me? 
Talk about a disappearing trick! 
I missed you. 
And I missed writing and cooking and reading!

No Meatless Monday last week. 
And no Thanks on Thursday either...
I'm sure you were worried what happened to your girl (me!)... 
Last week was a long, not feeling so hot one for me. 
Then came our trip to Utah for a family wedding.
Brrr it was chilly.
And I didn't get to set up posts before I left because I didn't feel well.

Thank goodness I'm back! 
And with a little bit of sweetness to share. 

Meet Hazel Gwynneth Thomas. 
She joined our family on Valentine's Day. 
And goodness do we love her. 

She's already become so comfortable at home with Mr. T and me! 
She quickly fell asleep cuddling with Mr. T last night. 

And after much working out this morning, she immediately went down for a nap.
Did you know boxers snore like small freight trains?
They do.
Please prepare yourself for a ridiculous amount of pictures of her.
We are such proud puppy parents already.
And with a face like hers, can you blame us?!?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bye, Bye to that Stinkin' Little Sneaky Guy

I'm not sure about you, 
but I can pretend everything's perfect when it's really not. 
Putting on that, "Yeah everything's good" face when it really just isn't...
So me.
While I may not have a tangible problem,
(Like a cold, a broken down car, a recent break-up, depression) 
I do have a little demon that sits on my shoulder 
and whispers mean, nasty, ugly things in my ear. 
(Just like the little guys in cartoon characters.)

Check it: 
(You can't see him in this shot, but he's there, just hiding from you... 
I'm convinced he burrows in my hair) 

My greatest demon is body image.
 I grew up playing soccer and never had to think twice about what I was eating. 
My freshman year of college was marked with much bad "dorm food" 
(by "dorm food" I mean Flamin' Hot Cheetos dipped in cream cheese)
and the complete and total eradication of any kind of working out. 
(Sometimes I wouldn't go to class because it was uphill the WHOLE way there)
When I moved home from my freshman year carrying fifteen pounds more than I left with, 
I realized it was time to take my health, myself, more seriously.

I hit the road hard
Running three miles at first, 
quickly building to five, 
and then growing higher and higher in number from there. 

Three and a half years later and I'm still nuts about running... 
And I've added working out at the gym to get killer arms and abs... 
But I'm not at that size 0, or 2, or 4 that I'd love to be.
And every time I look in the mirror I see that extra pudge 
around my waistline only to be frustrated.

I'm not overweight by anyone else's standards,
(well maybe some...)
but I am mastered in the art of picking myself apart.
When I look in the mirror I can easily find a dozen parts of me
I long to "correct". 
I have a feeling there's more I want to fix than with which I am satisfied.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 
male and female he created them." 
-Genesis 1:27

Growing up in church I have always heard that God made our bodies,
 thus we should love them as His creation. 
Well, I love my body because it's a useful tool that God made for me to use... 
But I don't like that I can't shape and sculpt it to look "perfect" (whatever that means). 
I have been praying what seems forever for God to rip
(I know, talk about drama, but that's how it feels!)
  that little demon from my shoulder and place him in a far, far, far land.
 However, God is showing me that I can tell that demon "No." 
It's that simple, just say no.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden form you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
-Psalm 139:13-16

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
God has made me perfect for the purpose of glorifying him.
Not to fit the standards of a "skinny-loving" culture.
God knows my frame. 
He knows those little pockets of fat. 
He knows the unwanted pimples and follicles that I despise. 
But the difference between God and I: 
He dearly loves my greatest (and tiniest) imperfections. 
In fact, it's through those most hated parts of me that He acts so greatly through. 
In fact, the parts of me I love the most, I happen to take for granted... 

I'm beautiful because He made me so. 
Little demon, be gone
I'm a beautiful babe of His.

While prayer and reading God's word is so refreshing.
I realize there are practical steps you can take to confront your body issues. 

1. Listen to your body and eat when it needs fuel.
2. Know that your size is genetic and environmental... Not everyone can be a size 0.
3. Exercise regularly in a way that you love.
(If you don't like it, it won't stick. And time won't make you love it!)
4. Know that weight changes in cycles that run weekly and monthly.
5. Work on being gentle mentally... Treat your body right in your mind.
(For every thought that is negative, I require myself to create a positive)
6. Ask for support and encouragement from friends. 
In return, be honest and vulnerable with them.
7. Decide where your priorities lie. 
(I love me a good dessert. I'll skip chips at lunch for that cupcake later.)
8. Mental health effects physical well-being... Take time for your mind.

What's your greatest demon? 
What are your practical ways to deal with your demon? 
Let me know, 
I will pray for your fight... And please, please pray for mine. 


Moral of the Story:
You're beautiful.
I am too.
And God loves you and me.
I mean it. For real. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cranberry Lemonade Scones

A couple of weeks ago I shared my newfound love for scones.
I made my first batch and they baked smashingly! 
When I decided to make more I just couldn't get the new recipe right.
I kept under baking, burning, and messing up the dough...

I decided my best bet was to take a week off and try, try again!
Best idea ever! 
And just in time for Valentine's Day! 


These Cranberry Lemonade wonders bring summer time to winter
and will remind your Valentine of a sunny season 
and, more importantly, why they love you so. 

Cranberry Lemonade Scones
(adapted from Ina Garten's Cranberry Orange Scones)
(Makes 8 scones, Total Time: 30 minutes)

Ingredients 
2 cups 1/4 cups flour 
1/8 cup sugar (plus some for sprinkling)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold
Lemon zest from 2 lemons 
Juice from 2 (zested) lemons
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries  


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment 
mix 2 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
3. Dice cold butter with a knife and add to dry ingredients in mixer.
4. Mix on low speed until butter is about the size of a pea. 
5. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, cream, and juice from 1 lemon. Beat lightly.
6. Combine wet ingredients with dry while the mixer is at low speed. 
7. Mix until dough is lumpy and just blended. 
8. Add the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour to dough.
9. Mix on low speed until blended.
10. Knead dough into a ball on a well-floured surface. 
11. Flour a rolling pin and roll until 1 inch thick. 
12. Flour a (festive) cutter and cut out shapes of dough. 
(Obviously I used a heart shape to be lovely!) 
13. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
14. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon into a small bowl and baste onto cupcakes. 
15. Sprinkle with sugar.
16. Bake for 20-25 minutes until scones are golden brown. 


Serve with a cup of joe and a side of flirty smiles! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Faith from My Kitchen



Making dinner brings a sense of completeness to my chaotic days of work... 
And spending some quiet time on my weekends 
planning the menu for the week ahead gives me a great organizational peace
Enjoying an evening in the kitchen is a therapy, of sorts, 
to allow me time to sort through my ingredients, 
my process, and the many happenings of my busy day. 

It helps to have a husband around who gobbles up 
every meal I place in front of him. 
He is all too often impressed by my makings, even when I truly am disappointed. 
(Side Note: Ladies, it's true the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!)

Mr. T, the above mentioned human garbage disposal, is a natural helper.
He longs to spend time in the kitchen next to me helping prep anything and everything.
He talks of being in charge of meals... Planning and making them all on his own.
However, the few times I've relinquished such control, I realized that Mr. T's
 ideal meal is more purposeful than palate pleasing. 
His "perfectly planned" plate consists of a grilled lean chicken breast 
(because it's packed with protein)
a side of spinach splashed with a little (emphasis on little) splash of italian dressing, 
and possibly some brown rice 
(though carbs are not high on his priority list, unlike mine)

While risking repetition, Mr. T is not into flavor so much as practicality
He is focused on putting what's best into his body ensuring it's running at high efficiency.
I, on the other hand, want to enjoy my culinary experience 
which requires a little bit of extra caloric intake.

These dinner experiences serve as an amazing illustration of God and his faithfulness. 
like Mr. T's meal, Christ's sacrifice was enough for us. 
It covers all of our sin and allows us to work at full efficiency 
knowing that we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven 
simply by knowing God as our personal savior. 
We could simply enjoy the bare bones without further pursuing greater culinary treats.

However, much like the way top chefs do in the culinary world, 
God has provided us with a recipe book (aka: the Bible) 
that not only provides us with instructions on the basics of cooking 
but it also has suggestions for spicing up our lives 
(not like the girl group from the mid-90s as great as they were...)
you see, 
there are many ways to make things "better" 
though it often requires a more complicated cooking process 
and sometimes a bit of thinking ahead.

"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, 
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" -Matthew 4:4

Even Jesus himself says, man cannot live on his own, 
but needs the word of God. 
I have a hankering Jesus was saying that the word of God is
what makes life more than just a grilled lean chicken breast, 
let's think of them as the marinade of life. 
And what is the rule about marinating... 
the longer you let meat sit in a marinade, the better it tastes. 
well, marinate away my dear friends.

"Study this Book of Instruction continually. 
Meditate (sounds much like marinate) on it day and night 
so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. 
Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." -Romans 1:8

Don't take this as an action-based faith lesson... 
Marinating does not change the completeness we have achieved through Christ's death. 
Nothing we do will ever change how healthy the lean chicken breast is, 
just like nothing we ever do will add to or take away from the price paid by Christ on the cross.
 However, with a little bit of thinking ahead and a greater cooking process, 
we can work to transform ourselves to be more like Him. 
Is it easy? 
Nope. 
But more importantly, it's possible with Him on our side.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thanksgiving Thursday

This Thursday finds me feeling not so hot 
and longing for time in bed even though I've spent my whole day there.
Regardless I have much to be thankful for! 

(Sweet pic right? Mr. T and I made these Towers of Hanoi on our honeymoon!)

My neighbors.
Tangible Caring. 
Bible study that pushes me.
Conviction.
Action.
God's truth.
Graceful honesty.
The marvels of modern medicine.
Opportunities for Mr. T. 
Home Sweet Home. 
Wolfgang Puck K-Cups.
My milk frother. 

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pick-Up Lines and Terapins, Turtles, Tortoises

Hey are you from Tennessee?
Because you're the only Ten-I-See.

Do you believe in polar bears?
Neither do I but I just broke the ice.

Tacky pick-up lines = Awkward turtle.

Speaking of turtle. 
Have I told you about Mr. T's pick-up line? 
Talk about awkward turtle.

Boy meets girl. Boy asks for girl's number. Boy calls girl and invites her over.
Girl obliges and they spend a night sitting at their counter laughing.
Same old story everyone else has got.
However, his pick-up line really sets this man apart.

Chatter...
Mr. T: "So want to know a cool fact?"
Future Mrs. T: "Sure." 
Mr. T: "My dad has 150 turtles."
Future Mrs. T: "Heh. Heh...... Are you serious?" 
Mr. T: "Yeah, serious." 
Furture Mrs. T: "Well. Oh." 
Mr. T: "When we go there you can count them."
Swift change of subject.

Sure enough when I met his dad and family, I also met 150 turtles. 


One being this gentle giant of a Galapagos turtle, Gus. 
These are like the tortoises that you see in the zoo.

So men, take your notes, women love turtles in mass numbers.
Okay, maybe I lied.
Women like men with confidence, even about their absurd lives.
And I am a sucker for absurdity.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oreo Muffin-Cakes

Muffincakes.
Not like some sick pet name for Mr. Thomas.
Like muffin and cupcakes as Siamese twins.

I thought cuppyfins was a fun one too.
But cuppycakes is unoriginal.
Where muffincakes, trademarked as mine.
Obviously.

This may, or may not, seem overdramatic,
but you must understand,
these baked treats are no dramatic, laughing matter.


Oreo Muffin-Cakes
(adapted from BakerStreet

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 entire package oreo cookies 
(give or take the two or three you can't wait to eat!)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
2. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
3. In another bowl mix together milk, egg, and sour cream.
4. Stir milk mixture into the flour mix with softened butter.
5. Mix until just blended together.
6. Crush cookies in a bag with meat tenderizer (keep 16 aside whole).
7. Stir cookies into batter gently. 
8. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
9. Drop whole oreos into the bottom of the wells. 
10. Spoon batter on top of the whole oreos.
11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
12. Remove pan from oven and remove muffin-cakes from pan.
13. Serve warm with a chilled class of milk! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meatless Monday: Risotto with Roasted Beets and Garlic

Last winter we fell head over heels for beets.
And by beets, I mean the real ones, not the pickled, out of the can stuff.
(Although I truly believe I can still eat a jar of those "veggies" -if you will- in one sitting)
Their rich earthy flavor, 
deep purple-red color,
(that can really only be labeled as beet red) 
and their dense, yet forgiving texture 
make them just irresistible. 

While I was in the grocery store last week doing my weekly cabinet stocking, 
some beautiful, voluptuous, healthy looking beets caught my eye in produce.
Yep, lulled in by a good looking babe in the grocery store. 
I brought these beets home with me with no apparent purpose for them.
And then, Meatless Monday was upon me.
Boom, beets to the rescue to bring Mr. Thomas some purpley-red joy. 
Enter beet risotto
I was in no way amazed by the simplicity of this dish. 
And the leftovers were just as good as the first course. 
(And in case you were worried, Mr. T was just charmed) 


Check out that wondrous color.
Talk about intense.
(Yeah, I know, that color really isn't beet, or intense... But work with what you've got right?)Other options:

(a) Talk about intense.
(b) Talk about intense.
(c) Talk about intense.

See, it just doesn't do the beety (yes, I did just make that word up) 
wonderfulness of this dish justice.

Risotto with Roasted Beets and Garlic
(adapted from The Dutch Oven Cookbook) 

Ingredients 
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white onion, chopped 
2 1/2 ups chicken broth
1 cup short-grain rice (I used sushi rice)
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 (baseball sized) beets, roasted and sliced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped


Directions
1. Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium-low heat. 
2. Add the onion and sauté until soft and golden. 
3. In another pot bring the chicken broth to a boil then keep on low heat. 
4. Add rice to sautéed onion pan and coat with butter.
5. Add a 1/2 cup of the hot broth, stir well, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. 
6. As the broth cooks down, add more broth a 1/2 cup at a time. 
(Stir, stir, stir because you don't want the rice to burn to the pan)
7. Stir in the wine. 
8. At this point the rice should be creamy and tender. 
9. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
10. Add the sliced beets and enjoy! 


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dear Mr. T... Love, Me


Dear Mr. T, 

You are ridiculous.
But I love it. 
I mean, is Calvin your baby or something? 
Will it help if I say I know you're going to be an amazing dad
Now, I beg of you, stop spoiling the little furry, four legged creatures... 

Is it obvious to you how much I appreciate you?
As busy as I am with coordinating you manage to make me feel supported and special.
Thank you. It makes everything millions of times easier.
Plus, I feel so blessed to have you. 
(Well, I've felt that way for years now...) 

Nice job getting new workout shorts. 
Really, thank you.
I'm glad you're matured from the "borrowed" shorts that really don't fit you.
And thanks for the fashion show.
Workout shorts never looked so good on the runway.

You're the bomb.com.
You're the maple syrup to my bacon strips.
You're the jalapeno jelly to my cream cheese and triscuits.
You're the cinnamon sugar on my buttered toast.
You're the cholula on my breakfast burrito.
And you're so much more... 

I love you Mr. T.
Love, 
Me

Sorry for the blurred face here... Blame it on the Witness Protection Program.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Thursday

This Thursday's thanks have gone family style!


A road to Lyme's Disease recovery.
Family trips to tropical places.
The Impending Beer Battered Super Bowl.
Trading cooking notes with Mama Bird.
A husband that loves cleaning as much as me. 
A (soon to be) addition to Team Thomas, Hazel Gwynneth. 
(no, still not a baby... You will see!) 
A thankful Brown Bear.
Family dinners with our neighbors.
Dog-friendly barbecue for birthday celebrations.
Home sweet home where my husband is.
Family, near and far, but all dear.

I know your family is awesome too...
Do they know how thankful you are for them? 
If not, let them know! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm so Sconed...

Just about a few weeks ago, I met and ingested my first scone.
Yep, 22 year old Amber meet scone. 
Scone meet Amber... oh wait, you're all gone except for a crumb or two.
That scone never stood a chance. 

My love affair with scones started fast and boy did I fall hard. 
As great as Starbucks makes them, I wanted to make and master the art of scones.
Well, it didn't take much to "master" scone-making.
Let me just share with you... These are irresistible! 


Looking good aren't they? 
Well, Mr. Thomas inhaled two of them before church on Sunday and when I came out 
to blend up my morning smoothie, he was sitting in a scone-induced coma on the couch.
When he finally came to, all he could manage was, 

"Amber, I'm so sconed." 

What a lovely little pun, right? 
I know, get on with it already, we're hungry for a recipe.


Zesty Raspberry Scones 

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
Zest from 1 orange
1 cup frozen raspberries
(If you want to go with fresh pop them in the freezer 
to keep them together during mixing)

Directions 
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2. In a bowl blend the sour cream and baking soda.
 3. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.
4. Cut in the butter.
5. Stir the sour cream/baking soda mixture into the flour.
6. Add the egg and stir until doughy.
7. Stir in the raspberries and orange zest.
8. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.
9. Break off small pieces of dough and roll into a ball. 
10. Drop on a greased baking sheet.
11. Bake 15 minutes in the oven or until golden brown. 

One more picture for the road... 


These scones taste best with a cup of fresh brewed coffee...
Or cocoa or cider or tea! 

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